THE AMAZING AMY WINEHOUSE 14 September 1983 – 23 July 2011
On this day 10 years ago, 23 July 2011, sadly the brilliantly talented Amy Winehouse tragically died, far too soon, aged just 27 years old.
A unique style
Before Amy Winehouse began her long downward spiral that would ultimately end in her passing, the British pop icon directed her adoration for soul and jazz into a unique style of pop music that resounded with endless individuals.
Gone too soon
While the world adored her big hits like “Recovery,” it alluded to her real battles with drugs and alcohol. Sadly, Amy Winehouse lost her battle against addiction, passing away in her home on July 23, 2011. This year marks the 10th anniversary of her tragic death; join us as we take a look at the highlights and downward spiral of Amy Winehouse’s life and career.
Amy always dreamt of being a musician
Born Amy Jade Winehouse, the singer came into the world on September 14, 1983, in London, England. Amy grew up in a middle-class home and dreamt of being a musician from a young age. Her grandmother Cynthia nurtured young Amy’s ambitions, as she herself was a former singer.
Amy began to pursue her goals at age 12
When Amy was just nine years of age, her parents divorced, which was challenging for her. Later, at age twelve, she decided to pursue her ambitions and applied for a spot at the Sylvia Young Theatre School.
Pictured: Amy with her mother.
At 14 years old Amy wrote her own songs
Amy Winehouse was dedicated to making her dreams come true, and by age fourteen, she was already writing her own songs. However, it was at age sixteen she finally reached her jumping-off point when a singer she knew gave her demo tape to a record label that wanted a jazz singer.
Her first record deal at 19
Thanks to her demo tape, by age 19, Amy had her first record deal. In 2003, a year later, her debut album ‘Frank’ was released and received critical acclaim.
Amy the “party girl”
Early on in her career, Amy earned a reputation of being a “party girl”; however, the truth about her addictions would soon come to light. When she met Blake Fielder-Civil, her bad habits got a whole lot worse.
Amy had stage fright
All of Amy’s dreams were coming true, and her album was No. 3 on the British charts. Unfortunately, despite all her success, Winehouse struggled with stage anxiety in front of an audience that was constantly getting bigger.
When Amy met Blake…
Winehouse began to frequent pubs in Camden to help her unwind, and it was there that she would meet her future husband, Blake Fielder-Civil. Even though it was love at first sight with Blake for Amy, her friends and family became concerned about how her behaviour changed once she started going out with her new beau.
“Amy changed over night after she met Blake.”
Nick Godwyn, who worked with Winehouse for six years and managed three of her tours, spoke about the change he saw in Amy in an interview with ‘Times’. “Amy changed overnight after she met Blake. She just sounded completely different. Her personality became more distant. And it seemed to me like that was down to the drugs. When I met her she smoked weed but she thought the people who took class-A drugs were stupid. She used to laugh at them.”
Blake admitted he introduced Amy to hard drugs
Later, on ITV’s ‘Jeremey Kyle Show,’ Blake Fielder-Civil admitted that he was the one that introduced Amy to hard drugs. The use of illegal substances combined with the tumultuous nature of the couple’s relationship really made Amy Winehouse’s life go off the rails.
Blake and Amy eloped
When Winehouse’s second album ‘Back to Black’ was released, the performer found herself catapulted into international fame in 2006. Shortly after, in 2007, Blake and Amy eloped in Miami, Florida.
The paparazzi distressed Amy
The song “Rehab” from ‘Back to Black’ was one of the first warning signs for fans in 2006, and soon Amy’s problems became undeniable to the public. As Winehouse’s fame grew, so did her reliance on alcohol and illegal substances to calm her demons. The paparazzi only made matters worse, documenting her husband Blake Fielder-Civil’s every move
Amy and Blake were constantly in the tabloids
The marriage was not harmonious, and the couple dominated the tabloids but not in a positive light. They were arrested on several occasions for everything from assault to possession of illegal substances.
“…a co-dependent husband in jail…”
Amy took the most heat since she was the famous one in the marriage. In 2007 ‘The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote, “She’s only 24 with six Grammy nominations, crashing headfirst into success and despair, with a co-dependent husband in jail, exhibitionist parents with questionable judgment, and the paparazzi documenting her emotional and physical distress.”
Amy won 5 Grammy Awards in 2008
In her album ‘Back to Black,’ Amy explored her issues with substances abuse and made it clear she was not interested in rehab. It was rumored that even her own father didn’t want her to take time to get clean and that he prioritized her work over her health. ‘Back to Black’ was Amy’s most successful album, and she was nominated for six Grammy awards, of which she took home five.
She couldn’t travel to the ceremony
However, Winehouse’s legal troubles kept her from attending the 2008 Grammy ceremony in person. She was unable to obtain a U.S visa due to her legal issues and had to accept the awards from London via satellite.
A downward spiral
Despite being at the height of her career, Amy was most definitely in a downward spiral. When she won her Grammy awards, her husband was in prison for assaulting a pub landlord, and that same year her father revealed that Amy had the early signs of what could lead to emphysema due to smoking hard drugs.
Amy did try to get clean
Alcohol was also a significant problem for the star, and she eventually ended up going to rehab on more than one occasion. However, despite her attempts, she was never able to recover from her addiction problem successfully.
Amy began to cancel shows
In 2009 Blake and Amy divorced, and Winehouse was cancelling show after show, even a much anticipated Coachella performance. By the time 2011 arrived, the award-winning singer was hardly working at all. Worst of all, when she did get on stage, she often couldn’t perform properly, slurred her words, and often fell down.
Amy Winehouse’s last performance
One month before her passing, Amy Winehouse began her comeback tour, performing in Belgrade, Serbia. The performance was disastrous; Winehouse appeared on stage intoxicated and unable to remember the words to her songs or even the name of the city where she was performing.
Amy was booed off stage
The audience of 20,000 people booed her so loudly she was forced off the stage. It would be the last show she would ever perform.
Amy’s doctor wanted her to get psychological help
Meanwhile, Christina Romete, Amy Winehouse’s doctor, had been attempting to get the star into psychological therapy for months. However, Winehouse was resistant to the idea, so Romete focused on what she could do to aid the performer with her physical health. She prescribed Amy Librium to help with her alcohol withdrawal symptoms and anxiety.
Amy could not give up drinking
Despite her best attempts, Amy simply wasn’t capable of giving up alcohol. According to her doctor, it was a constant cycle, and the singer was unable to stay sober for more than a few weeks at a time.
Amy didn’t want to die
The night before she died, Winehouse called her doctor to tell her that she had relapsed yet again, that she didn’t want to die, and apologized for wasting the doctor’s time.
Winehouse spent her last night with her bodyguard
That same night, Amy stayed awake watching YouTube videos of her early performances with her bodyguard Andrew Morris (pictured). In a Channel 5 documentary about Amy Winehouse’s death, Andrew Morris spoke of that night: “She was showing me some clips on her laptop, and she was singing, and she said, ‘Boy, I can sing,’ and I said, ‘Damn right, you can sing’.”
Found the next day by Andrew Morris
The next morning, Amy’s bodyguard and friend planned to wake her up at ten o’clock in the morning, but she appeared to still be resting, so he left her. It wasn’t until 3 pm that Morris realized something was wrong. In a statement to ‘The Independent, ‘ Morris said, “It was still quiet, which seemed strange. She was in the same position as in the morning. I checked her pulse but I couldn’t find one.”
Gone too soon
On July 23rd, 2011, Amy Winehouse passed away due to alcohol poisoning. The coroner noted that her blood-alcohol level was .416, five times higher than the legal driving limit in England.
Fans were not surprised
Although fans around the world mourned the sudden loss of the British star, very few were surprised. Amy Winehouse’s death was foreshadowed by her way of life.
Who is responsible for Winehouse’s death?
Following Amy Winehouse’s death, there was a lot of finger-pointing. In the documentary ‘Amy’ viewers learn about how Amy’s own father (pictured) hesitated to send her to rehab for help with her addictions. However, others such as the paparazzi and her ex-husband Blake have also been heavily accused of contributing to her downward spiral.
Yet another member of the “27 Club”
Amy Winehouse was just 27 years old when she died far before her time, joining many other tortured artists who pertain to the “27 Club”. The music world lost yet another icon much too early. We can’t help but wonder if Winehouse had been able to recover from her addictions what she would be doing now.
Amy Winehouse – Frank Island Records 2003
Amy Winehouse – Back To Black Island Records Group, Universal Records 2006
Amy Winehouse – Lioness: Hidden Treasures Island Records Group, Lioness Records 2011
Amy Winehouse – At The BBC Island Records Group 2012
Amy Winehouse – Antonio Pinto, Amy Winehouse – Amy (The Original Soundtrack) Island Records 2015
BACK TO BLACK TRACKLISTING
No. Title Length
- “Rehab” 3:34
- “You Know I’m No Good” 4:17
- “Me & Mr Jones” 2:33
- “Just Friends” 3:13
- “Back to Black” 4:01
- “Love Is a Losing Game” 2:35
- “Tears Dry on Their Own” 3:06
- “Wake Up Alone” 3:42
- “Some Unholy War” :22
- “He Can Only Hold Her” 2:46
- “Addicted” 2:45
Total length: 34:56
Deluxe edition bonus disc
No. Title Length
- “Valerie” 3:53
- “Cupid” Sam Cooke 3:49
- “Monkey Man” Hibbert 2:56
- “Some Unholy War” (down tempo) 3:17
- “Hey Little Rich Girl” (featuring Zalon and Ade) 3:35
- “You’re Wondering Now” (UK, Australian and Japanese editions only) 2:33
- “To Know Him Is to Love Him” 2:24
- “Love Is a Losing Game” (original demo) 3:43
Total length: 26:10
Back to Black debuted at number three on the UK Albums Chart on 5 November 2006 with first-week sales of 43,021 copies. The album reached number one for the first time during the week ending 20 January 2007, its 11th week on the chart, selling over 35,500 copies. The following week, it remained at number one with nearly 48,000 copies sold. Five weeks later, it returned for a third week atop the UK chart, selling 47,000 copies. Back to Black was the best-selling album of 2007 in the UK, having sold 1.85 million copies. The BPI certified the album 13-times Platinum on 30 March 2018, and by October 2018, it had sold 3.93 million copies, making it the UK’s second best-selling album of the 21st century so far, as well as the 12th best-selling album in the UK of all time.
Back to Black debuted at number seven on the Billboard 200 in the United States with first-week sales of 51,000 copies, becoming the highest debut entry for an album by a British female solo artist at the time—a record that would be broken by Joss Stone’s Introducing Joss Stone, which debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 the following week. Following Winehouse’s multiple wins at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards, the album jumped from number 24 to a new peak of number two on the Billboard 200 chart issue dated 1 March 2008 with sales of 115,000 copies. The album was certified double-Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on 12 March 2008, and has since sold nearly three million copies in the US.
Amy Winehouse’s songs tell us all we need to know
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